No joke

Today, April Fools Day, is normally a day for jokes, pranks and general tomfoolery.

This is far from a normal April Fools Day.

Aside from a bad impression of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey — whose accent is the quintessential Southern drawl — I wasn’t in a jocular mood. I just learned “jocular” today thanks to WordPress Discover, which has started daily prompts again.

Today’s is “joke,” and it struck me as ironic since most people don’t see a global pandemic as the right time to joke around. I heard an actor say something about how important it is to document this time so when it’s over we’ll remember what it was like.

Something tells me most people who are old enough to remember this stretch of time won’t soon forget it.

It’s the first day of April, and I’d almost bet “coronavirus” will be Merriam-Webster’s word of the year.

Maybe you’ve found this years after we’ve passed this plague.

Perhaps you heard of it in history class.

I once read a book called Co. Aytch (Company H, for those of you who talk too fast), by Sam Watkins. Watkins was a Confederate soldier who knew he’d lived history as it happened, and when he wrote it down he wrote for the “dear reader” he seemed to know would peruse his prose centuries later.

I make no such claim for this post, dear reader, but if you look on these words in a time when there’s plenty of rolls of toilet paper at your local Walmart stop what you’re doing and count your blessings.

These are weird days. A respiratory virus has spread throughout the world, and left countries scrambling for ways to stop it.

Everything has slowed to a crawl, and in a lot of places things have ground to a halt.

People have been asked to stay home, and are quarantined in their houses.

It’s gone beyond a request in some states, where the governors have stepped in with legislative measures to try to curb the caseloads.

Some days the novel coronavirus seems to have catapulted us into scenes of Hollywood horror films once only imagined.

Normal is gone. It has devolved into this new way of life with new guidelines for healthy survival wrapped up in phrases like “social distancing” and “flatten the curve.”

Some days, the virus seems to have brought the pages and places of dystopian novels to life.

People don’t hug here. They don’t high five. They don’t even fist bump anymore.

They don’t gather for church, weddings or baby showers.

They don’t eat inside restaurants, because the restaurants have closed or gone to only takeout and drive-thru orders.

People try their best not to go within six feet of anyone who lives outside of their house.

They can’t visit their grandparents. They can’t go to school. They can’t watch sports, because sports can’t be played. The 2020 Olympics have been postponed.

People are sick with coughs, fevers, sore throats, shortness of breath and a host of other symptoms of the virus.

People are panicked, confused and isolated.

People are dying.

These are dark days, but there are rays of light.

We can see light if we look at the doctors, nurses and other medical people on the front lines of the fight against this thing.

We can see light if we look at the people who have recovered, and the closed countries able to gradually open again.

We can see light in the days with less work to do and more time to focus on what’s really important.

We can see light if we look to the God who promised to give us peace and rest.

We can see light in the fact this, too, shall pass, and that’s no joke.

One thought on “No joke”

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